2016 INDIAN MOTORCYCLE CO CHIEF CLASSIC
- YEAR : 2016
- MILEAGE : 6269
- EXTERIOR : Amber Whiskey
- ENGINE SIZE : 1818
- transmission : 6 Speed
- warranty : Limited
- title : Clean
Amber Whiskey custom paintjob
The base model cruiser in the Indian Motorcycle lineup, the Chief Classic carries the vintage badging and iconic lighted War Bonnet that is still the hallmark of the brand even through the fits, starts and financial turmoil of various owners during the post-WWII years, right up to the turn of the century. Since Polaris acquired it in 2011, Indian has become its top-selling motorcycle brand. Carried forward for 2018 and powered by the Thunder Stroke® 111 engine, the Chief Classic has the styling and valenced fenders that identify it as classic Indian with rider amenities and features such as ABS, cruise control, keyless starting, electronic fuel injection and a manually-adjustable single-shock swingarm.
For a cruiser, I expect it to have a low seat height and the Chief Classic doesn’t disappoint. At 26 inches, even I can reach the ground with inseam to spare. The swept-back bars and forward foot controls create an easy-cruising windsock riding position and the Chief Classic has a soft, responsive throttle and a smooth, quick-responding clutch with very good low-speed stability. At least that’s how it feels to me.
The keyless ignition relieves me of fumbling with the key. I can start the bike with the key fob in my pocket or use a code I pre-programmed in the ignition system. The center-console instrument cluster includes an analog tach and speedometer along with a digital multi-function display for all the usual warning and indicator lamps as well as rider information displays. The instruments are easy to read, but with a full-face helmet, you might find you have to bob your head to see them.
Bling is the thing on the Chief Classic. The folks at Indian chromed everything that could be chromed. For comfort on the road, add a quick-release low windshield to control wind buffeting. You can install and remove the windshield without tools.
Indian pays tribute to the classic styling by keeping the elegant sweep of the valenced fenders — a hallmark of the brand since 1940 — along with the iconic tank emblems and front-fender figurehead. Large 46 mm forks carry the front end on 4.7-inches of travel, and the single rear adjustable pneumatic shock affords 3.7-inches of travel, which is fine for a cruiser.
Dual four-piston calipers in the front and a twin-piston caliper on the rear are hidden behind painted-to-match brake covers that blend right in with the fenders. With 300 mm discs all the way around and ABS, you have ample stopping power. All this rolls on 16-inch, 60-spoke laced wheels and Dunlop American Elite tires.
The triple-cam, V-twin Thunder Stroke 111 engine is the powerhouse here, breathing through a 54 mm throttle body to put out an awesome 119 pound-feet of torque. To keep the nice parallel look of the pushrod tubes, three cams operate the four-pushrod valvetrain. Conceived and developed by Polaris Industries, this is the engine that is “honoring our past and powering our future,” says Indian. It’s the first clean-sheet, proprietary Indian motorcycle engine in over 70 years.
With a true dual exhaust, the acoustically engineered system delivers the low rumble of the V-twin by eliminating high-pitch sound. If that isn’t enough for you, add a Stage 1 slip-on exhaust to accentuate the sexy exhaust note and add a pair of fishtail exhaust tips. When that rich, throaty exhaust draws attention, it should look as good as it sounds.
The six-speed transmission has a positive neutral find, which is always a good thing. With the sixth-gear overdrive, cruising is seemingly effortless doing 45 mph at 1,700 rpm and a whole lot of low-to-mid range torque.